Thursday, September 29, 2011
Aged Care Workers Undervalued
There are two occupational sectors that I feel are possibly the most undervalued and poorly treated of all, school support staff and aged care workers.
On Tuesday Sue Kedgley met with group of picketers at Parliament. They were protesting about the paltry response from the government to address their issues of poor pay and conditions. I have posted on this issue before but felt compelled to write yet another letter to the Southland Times:
There have been many damning reports regarding aged care in New Zealand over the last few years including those from the Auditor General and the Health and Disability Commissioner. Green MP, Sue Kedgley and Labour MP, Winnie Laban, travelled around New Zealand to see first hand the realities of aged care in different communities. Their report made a number of recommendations that focussed on greater accountability and monitoring of the aged care sector and improved pay and working conditions for workers.
Since then New Zealand Consumer revealed that out of 287 homes audited over the past year, only 14% fully met all the standards required and over half couldn’t meet the “safe and appropriate environment” standards.
Residential care workers protested at Parliament on Tuesday and expressed their concern that although the Government had provided $17 million of extra funding the best workers could expect would be 51 cents an hour onto their average hourly rate of $10.85.
The Green Party is committed to improving the services provided to our eldest citizens and improving the status and working conditions of those who provide them. Sue Kedgley has called for the establishment of compulsory safe staffing levels and fair pay and conditions for aged care workers. To allow the current situation to continue is untenable.